Recharging with NU Zen Society
  • Under the dim light, everything is hazy. Not that it matters, as all eyes are closed.
  • After Findlay rings a bell, meditation resumes.
  • In between sitting sessions are discussions, which last 20 minutes each.
  • Each sitting session lasts 20 to 25 minutes.
  • It’s jasmine tea, and its steam and aroma fill the room.
  • Society president and Weinberg senior Alex Findlay pours tea for everyone between sitting sessions of meditation.
  • Meeting at the Parkes Hall Oratory every Thursday at 7:30 p.m., the Northwestern Zen Society is just as much about meditation as it is about meeting new friends.
  • “To get serious about zen practice, you carve out time every day,” says Abbot Yusan Graham, director of the Chicago Zen Center. “Regularity is important."
Photos by Lucy Wang / North by Northwestern

Every Thursday at 7:30 p.m., the Northwestern Zen Society meets at the Parkes Hall Oratory. Students take off their shoes at the door, enter the tungsten-lit room and spend an hour or two in discussion and meditation. The focus of these weekly meetings is not on Buddhist or religious theory, but rather on learning, and no previous meditation experience is necessary for participation.

"This is a crash course in learning to be there in life as it unfolds," said Abbot Yusan Graham, who leads the meetings and also serves as director of the nearby Chicago Zen Center.

The club was founded in 2003 and draws a mix of undergraduate and graduate students with varying levels of meditation experience.


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